Paying attention to the small details is often what separates one league from another. When it comes to outfits the small details can be found in the form of stitching, cuffs, textures, etc... but more often than not they come in the form of accessories.
One company that likes to focus on the smaller things is Trendhim. They look to provide a wide-enough array of accessories that no matter the occasion, there's something for you. However, that wasn't always the way...
Created in 2007 by Sebastian and Mikkel, Trendhim was created from scratch. With no prior experience to e-commerce, coding websites, buying products, taking care of customers, insurance, accounting and product photography, it was a steep learning curve to say the least.
Fast forward less than ten years and the company have 13 brands under their belt and a year that brought in 12 million dollars in sales. We got a chance to speak with Sebastian to find out about everything Trendhim, this is what he had to say...
How did you come up with the idea to launch Trendhim?
Trendhim was founded in late 2007 by Mikkel and myself (Sebastian). We were 18 and we came up with 2 ideas – home delivery service for bread on the weekends and an online store with accessories and jewellery for men. But we quickly decided that the whole getting up at 4 a.m. to deliver bread wasn't our cup of tea. And that was it! Morning bread suffered a swift death, and from the charcoaled ashes of waking up early rose Trendhim. We wanted to sell something online. We found the supplier and that’s how we started.
Did you have any experience in the area?
With our naiveté only surpassed by our ambition, we dived headfirst into everything e-commerce. Coding websites, buying products, taking care of customers, insurance, accounting, product photography, and so much more.
Then we started admiring the fashion industry a bit more. We moved into the fashion industry with the accessories. We still sell jewellery, but it’s not our main thing anymore.
Who is your target demographic?
Men. Men of all ages, men of all sizes. Men from all over the world. Men with wives and men with husbands. Rugged men, corporate men. Travelling men, home-buddy men. Any male who would want to tell their story with our accessories.
How did you get funding?
With about €4000 of hard-earned money doing paper routes and binding flowers (a story for another time), we embarked on this great adventure. We started small. We bought three pieces of this and three pieces of that. Then we could afford to buy six. Then we sold two. That’s how we grew it. That’s how it started. The first three years, we couldn’t afford any salary, so I took a part-time job at the post office.
We finally got an apartment. We slept on two mattresses on the floor in the living room. Then we grew out of the apartment into a house. We still slept on the floor in the living room on two mattresses. We just filled the rooms with boxes and packing stations.
CAN YOU SHARE ANY NUMBERS THAT SHOW US JUST HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME?
WE CLOSED 2018 WITH $12M.
Any advice for someone just starting out?
Who would be crazy enough to work 7 days a week, 16-hours each day, and invest another 10,000 euros that we have no idea where we were going to get? Not to mention giving up any form of social life for the next 2 years all to make our vision come true.
And that's exactly how it happened, there is no fairy tale in this success story. Everything came from hard work, though we were naive, it was our burning desire to succeed that came in handy. We needed to have part-time jobs as well to put food on the table. It is never easy. Nothing ever is when starting your own business. But if you have something that you're dying to achieve from day 1, don't stop. Even if it's day 14598, don't stop.
How do you protect yourself from the competition?
Over time we build our company stronger. We stand strong against competition at the moment. Especially with our own product designs, etc. This way you won’t find the same product elsewhere. We have moved over to this strategy for the last couple of years, and it’s now at about 60% of our products with our label on it.
What motivated you to start the business and what motivates you when things don’t go the way you want it to?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit together with one of my best buddies growing up. We were always together. We knew when we were 15 that we wanted to build something on our own. I tried different things when I was young. That’s how I started. I went to a regular high school. I thought I was going to be an engineer. I quickly found out that’s not what I wanted to do.
We love to fail. Learn from it - and do it quickly. This way we can change our approach and try something new. This way of embracing failure is now picked up by our employees and sets them freer to explore and test out everything.
What are the next products you’re working on?
We will continue to develop more of our own collections. And some of the next ones will be supported by creative artists from around the world. This way we give something back to the markets who support us - and we get more unique products.